I recently had the opportunity to meet Diana Nyad, the 60-year old woman who was the first person to swim from Florida to Cuba without a shark cage.
Diana shared a story from her early years when she was a competitive swimmer. She was feeling a little out of sorts before a race, and her friend advised her to look at the “moon” on her pinky fingernail. Her friend encouraged Diana to focus on peak performance so intensely that she could not swim even the length of her pinky’s moon any faster. She urged Diana to swim without paying attention to the other swimmers, to the many distractions, or to the timer on the wall. When she got to the end of the race, knowing that she gave it her all, she incited Diana to keep her eyes closed and not look at the timer. Finally, Diana was to fling her arms open wide and shriek, “I gave this race everything I had.”
Diana followed these instructions completely and gave it her all. When she opened her eyes, she discovered she came in sixth place. The funny thing was that Diana was not disappointed in her placement. When she realized that there wasn’t a single thing she could have done better, she was proud of herself and appreciated her accomplishment.
Playing full-out gave Diana the fortitude she needed to accomplish the fateful Cuba swim – after four failures. She gave it her best and her best came back to her.
When you consider your goals, are you doing every single thing possible to achieve them or do you leave something out so you have a built-in excuse when you fail? Look at the moon on your pinky finger. If you can honestly say that you could not have done a “pinky moon better,” you’re right where you are supposed to be.
PS – Give it everything you’ve got. It’s enough.
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